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By Sasha de Beausset Aparicio, MSc

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What Is Arteriosclerosis

Arteriosclerosis represents a term used to describe a hardening and thickening of the arteries. Any type of elasticity loss in the arteries from medium to large can be characterized using this word. However, the term shouldn’t be confused with “atherosclerosis” which refers to a particular form of arteriosclerosis caused by a fatty plaques depositing in the arterial wall. Another word utilized for this bodily condition was “myoconditis,” but it only appears on rare occasions.

This condition is the common reason behind heart attacks, peripheral vascular disease, and strokes which are named as an all “cardiovascular diseases.” According to a study conducted in 2005, more than eight hundred thousand deaths were caused by cardiovascular issues on American ground. Furthermore, somewhere around 1.5 million people are victims to the heart attacks related to arteriosclerosis. People over fifty years of age are susceptible to developing a carotid artery malfunction which later leads to cerebrovascular disease, a condition responsible for over two hundred thousand deaths on the United States territory.

There are two main forms of arteriosclerosis: obliterans which typically occurs in medium or large arteries from the lower extremities and Monckeberg’s calcific sclerosis, or medial calcific sclerosis which appears in the extremity arteries within elders.


As a matter of fact, arteriosclerosis is a normal part of the aging processes, although individuals who live a healthy life and remain physically active throughout their lifespan with moderate exercising programs are less prone to developing this condition. For example, atherosclerosis appears due to an excessive consumption of saturate fats, cholesterol, and trans fats which later deposit on the artery walls. Despite the fact that this bodily issue may not be noticed on short-term, on long-term the organism doesn’t receive sufficient blood, thus in some cases the heart may reach a full-stop.

Other potential causes behind arteriosclerosis are cigarette smoking, unmanaged diabetes and high blood pressure. This is why if an individual has high chances of developing either “hardening of the arteries” or diabetes due to the genetic material, it is important to take care from a young age and lead a life as healthy as possible.

Signs & Symptoms

It is important to keep in mind that arteriosclerosis is a disease whose development happens gradually and mild conditions may be characterized with no symptoms whatsoever. However, among the first symptoms which can be noticed if this condition evolves is pain linked to poor circulation. The pain can be felt in the chest, running down the left arm, in the jaws, or other places in which it can be mistaken as symptoms of indigestion, toothache, or back pains. Unfortunately, in the majority of cases, there are no noticeable symptoms until the blood supply is lost and the end result is a heath attack. During a potential stroke, the individual will feel nauseous or dizzy and will most likely lose his consciousness which will end up in temporary or permanent loss related to the use of a bodily part. These are among the worst case scenarios besides the death of the patient.

Other symptoms, with a much rare appearance rate include blurred vision, sexual impotence, leg cramps, poor circulation in the hand or feet, and numbness. It is advised that individuals experiencing one of these above mentioned symptoms consult a medical doctor, particularly if they have a predisposition towards the development of cardiovascular issues.

Diagnosis Arteriosclerosis

In most of the situations, the evidence of the hardened and narrowed arteries is to be noticed after a physical exam. This exam generally reveals if there is a weak or absent pulse in the narrowed region of the artery, the blood pressure is decreased in the affected limb, there are any type of whooshing sounds that can be heard with the help of a stethoscope, traces of pulsating bulge in the knee, and evidence of poor wound healing on certain areas of the body.

Another possible way in which this condition can be diagnosed is with the help of some specialized machines. For instance, the Doppler ultrasound machine has the role of measuring the blood pressure at various points along the arms and leg, thus helping diagnose a potential blockage of the arteries. In addition, an ankle-brachial index test works by comparing the measurements of the blood pressure in the ankle with the one in the arms and indicates if there is any abnormal difference between the two numbers. If there is, the patient will be diagnosed with atherosclerosis.

Other tests, used on more serious cases include angiogram, cardiac catheterization, an MRI, and a CT scan.

Although the subject was already mentioned, we stress upon the idea that any type of pains that may be linked to a cardiovascular condition should immediately be checked out and living a healthy life is often the answer to preventing this type of bodily issues.

Treatment for Arteriosclerosis

The treatment for arteriosclerosis features a series of changes linked to the patient’s lifestyle and if the condition has already evolved to a critical point, prescribed or over-the-count medication and surgical interventions.

The goals of the treatment often focus on reduction of the risk factors in order to slow down or stop the plaque build-up, decrease in the formation of blood clots, relief of symptoms, and a potential elimination of the accumulations blocking the arteries. First of all, a healthy diet should be instantly introduced in the patient’s life in order to reduce cholesterol and high blood pressure and additionally support the weight in order to avoid other possible complications. Among the recommended aliments there are fruits like bananas, apples, prunes, pears, and oranges, whole-grain cereals like oat bran and oatmeal, and legumes like lentils, black-eyed peas, and kidney beans.

Furthermore, people have to completely eliminate smoking, alcohol and food with high cholesterol levels because these are viewed as the main factors for worsening the bodily issue. Some medical procedures generally utilize in more difficult situations include coronary artery bypass grafting or CABG, carotid endarterectomy, angioplasty, and bypass grafting.

When it comes to natural alternatives, people with arteriosclerosis may focus on nutritional supplements that feature ingredients such as Omega-3 fatty acids and Hawthorn. As some evidence points out, hawthorn helps the organism due to reducing the blood fats while Omega-3s lowers the chances for the heart to be exposed to aging-related cardiovascular damage as well as diabetes. No matter the treatment used for this condition, it is important that people are aware of its existence, and if they notice any of the related symptoms, instantly schedule a consult with a specialized doctor.